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Film News Roundup: ‘Topless Prophet’ Strip Club Movie in Development

In today’s film news roundup, strip club saga “Topless Prophet” gets set up as a movie, Westwood’s Crest Theatre gets sold, and BidSlate partners with Filmhub.

MOVIE RIGHTS

Producer Ron Senkowski and his production company Symply Entertainment have bought feature film rights to the book “Topless Prophet: The True Story of America’s Most Successful Gentleman’s Club Entrepreneur.”

The deal was made with author Alan Markovitz, a pioneer operator of gentleman’s clubs based in Detroit. The book, published in 2010, includes a murder-for-hire plot hatched by his business partner at the time, testifying against the mob, winning First Amendment court battles, creating the first-ever topless airline, and surviving two separate gunshot incidents. He made international headlines in 2013 after purchasing the home next to that of his ex-wife, whom he had caught cheating, and erecting on his property a 12-foot-tall statue of a middle finger.

The Symply Entertainment acquisition includes the “Topless Prophet” book, Markovitz’s life rights, and a screenplay adaptation written by Kenneth Droz, who was accepted as a Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow in 2015 in the institute’s Screenwriting Intensive held in Detroit.

Senkowski’s producing credits include the animated “Khalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet'” with Salma Hayek and the indie feature “Decoding Annie Parker” starring Samantha Morton and Helen Hunt. He is about to start production in Detroit on survival thriller “Open Roof.”

Markovitz starred in the Cinemax reality show “Topless Prophet” for one season in 2014, then declined to participate further.

THEATER PURCHASE

The Actors Hall of Fame will buy the Crest Movie Theatre in Westwood, Calif., and plans to re-open the facility next year, Variety has learned exclusively.

Rusty Citron, president of the Actors Hall of Fame Foundation, said the foundation plans to operate the facility by showing first-run films and staging special events including world premiere re-enactments of major titles such as “Gone With the Wind”; Actors Hall of Fame tributes to Marilyn Monroe, Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier, Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, and Spencer Tracy; big-screen showings of award-winning TV series such as “Game of Thrones” and “The Sopranos”; and film festivals including Shakespeare, documentary, and student films.

It was founded as the Westwood Theatre in 1940 and has been known as UCLAN Theatre, Crest Theatre, and Metro Theatre. The 500-seat art deco style facility was designed by Arthur W. Hawes.

PARTNERSHIP

Content rights marketplace Bidslate has announced a partnership with Filmhub (formerly Kinonation), the online film distribution marketplace.

The alliance will grant BidSlate the rights to represent Filmhub’s users for on-demand and broadcast in international territories/markets not covered by Filmhub, as well as for DVD and airline/transportation rights internationally.

Titles covered in the deal include “Life in the Hole,” directed by Tony Mendoza; and the documentaries “Bending the Light,” directed by Michael Apted, and “Sons of Perdition,” a Tribeca Film Festival nominee for best documentary.

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